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Since its inception in 2009, the Chevrolet Traverse has been a choice made by many who have thrown away their old gas guzzling huge SUV’s in favor of a more fuel efficient, but still easily capable vehicle that offers the flexibility to haul people and gear but allow some relief at the gas pump. Competing in a class that includes a bevy of nameplates with great reputations such as the Honda Pilot, Toyota Highlander and Mazda CX-9, the Traverse holds its own and outshines these names in many ways.

With seating for up to eight passengers comfortably, the Travers is versatile in regards to hauling people, cargo, or both. New for this model year are twin USB ports for the second-row passengers as well as the forward collision alert and lane departure warning system to add extra safety and driver information allowing more security when traveling down the road.

Carrying a strong V6 engine and being a little larger than its competition the Travers offers plenty of power and room to enjoy. Able to easily reach highway speeds quickly and pass with ease, the powerful engine is a pleasure under the hood. If there is one knock on this otherwise exceptional vehicle it is the handling. While the suspension is fantastic, keeping the SUV stuck to the road, the steering is a bit sluggish and unresponsive. There is no doubt Chevrolet put a premium on comfort over the handling, but Miami Chevrolet tells us that once a shopper gets past this aspect the rest of the features are easy to enjoy. Adding a very peaceful cabin can make up for the lack of steering ability and offer the occupants to enjoy the ride down the road in comfort.

The single engine offering for the Traverse is a powerful 3.6-liter V6 that will achieve 281 horsepower and 266 lb.-ft. of torque for the LS and LT trim models. Moving up to the LTZ trim add a dual exhaust and brings the power numbers up a bit to 288 horsepower and 270 lb.-ft. of torque. This engine uses direct injection to help achieve these power number and when matched with the six-speed automatic transmission with a manual shift mode, the vehicle will achieve fuel mileage of 17 city/24 hwy mpg for the front-wheel drive (FWD) models, and 16 city/23 hwy mpg for the all-wheel drive (AWD) versions. Add to the power the towing which is rated to haul as much as 5,200 pounds and this SUV can bring most of the toys to the lake or bring home a great weekend project to be completed.

Built with three rows of seats, the interior can seat seven or eight passengers with adult-sized room in the third row for comfort all around. The second row bench does slide forward to offer third row passengers the ability to enter the vehicle more easily, a great feature that is showing up in more and more of these SUVs. The materials used inside are comfortable and soft adding to the comfort. All controls are well-placed making it a very intuitive vehicle to drive and easy to enjoy.

From the outside it’s easy to see why the Traverse is so popular. With excellent stylings, high rear fender flares, and smooth curves all over the vehicle this SUV is eye-catching from every angle. With a horizontal and chrome plated grill along with wrap around headlights the front of the vehicle offers a sly look as if it knows how great it is and is just waiting for a driver to enjoy it for themselves. A front to rear sloping roofline offers the look of some aerodynamics and the finishing touches are achieved through massive mag-inspired wheels that are offered from 17 to 20-inches in size.

The standard features offered for this great SUV include keyless entry, a rearview camera, and an audio system with satellite radio and a 6.5-inch touch screen display are all available for the LS trim. Moving up to the LT trim will bring in interior wood accents, 18-inch wheels, a power driver’s seat and a leather wrapped steering wheel. At the top of the heap, the LTZ trim the additions include heated and cooled front seats, a heated steering wheel, leather upholstery and the Forward Collision Alert and Lane Departure Warning System. All trims offer ten cup holders for the seven passenger configurations and twelve when the eight passenger setup is chosen.

As with most vehicles, the optional features offered are trim level based to include AWD, a navigation system, blind spot monitoring with rear cross traffic alert, a power lift gate, a ten speaker Bose audio system, a rear seat DVD entertainment system, a dual panel sunroof, Chevrolet’s MyLink Touch system with Bluetooth connectivity and six months of free OnStar services. Adding all this to this already impressive SUV only makes the ride that much more enjoyable for all when heading out for the weekend, or fighting the daily commute to work.

The LS model of the Traverse starts out at a price of $31,670 making this vehicle not only a great one to drive, but very affordable. The AWD will raise the price by $2,000 and a fully loaded LTZ model can bring the price up to as much as $45,000. Even though the starting price is slightly higher than much of the competition, the Travers is larger and roomier with a much less cramped third row than much of the competition. Anyone looking to buy a great crossover SUV should absolutely give the Traverse a chance to be that choice for their next great vehicle to enjoy.

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